Middle school boy arrested after refusing to recite Pledge of Allegiance, police say

Mother demanding charges be dropped

LAKELAND, Fla. – A Flordia middle school student is now facing charges after refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Police say the 11-year old boy disrupted a school function, refused to follow commands and repeatedly called school leaders racist. 

He was taken to a juvenile detention center. His mother is now demanding the charges be dropped. 

"I'm upset, I'm angry, I'm hurt," said Dhakira Talbot, the boy's mother. "More so for my son. My son has never been through anything like this, and I feel they should've handled this differently."

She said he is in gifted classes and has been bullied before. 

The incident started when a substitute teacher asked him to stand for the pledge. He reportedly told the teacher the flag was racist and the national anthem was offensive to black people. 

The teacher then told the district in a statement she told him if it was so bad here, why doesn't he find somewhere else to live. She then called the office because she "didn't want to continue dealing with him." 

School leaders said he threatened to get the school resource officer and principal fired and to beat the teacher. The boy said this accusation is not true.

A spokeswoman with the school district said students are not required to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, but the substitute teacher wasn't aware of this. She also stated the substitute teacher will no longer be able to work at any of the district's schools. The district is still looking into the matter.